Resume and Cover Letter Tips

9, 10, 11, 12

Learners will determine the difference between for-profit and nonprofit organizations. They will investigate jobs in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, and reflect on their own job related interests and skills. Students will create a resume, geared toward gaining employment in a particular field.

PrintOne Class Period

The learner will:

  • analyze the connection between their interests, abilities, and appropriate volunteer, internship, career choices.
  • distinguish between nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
  • identify criteria for job searches.
  • identify and explore a career opportunity in a nonprofit and/or business sector.
  • identify one or two jobs or careers they would like to pursue.
  • conduct internet and newspaper searches for available positions.
  • identify life experiences that illustrate their strengths and abilities, particularly as they relate to their chosen field.
  • utilize word processing programs to create a resume specific to the job of their choice.
  • Flip chart/board
  • Sample resumes (See Bibliographical References)
  • Local newspapers with classified ads
  • Internet
  • Student copies of Handout One: Resume Template

career: a job or series of job over time; usually means a person can move to a higher level of income and/or position over time

extracurricular: after-school and weekend activities; activities in addition to regular classes

field: a type of job, such as medical, legal, retail, etc.

objective: goal; what you want to do

qualification: a skill or quality a person needs for a task or job

resume: a short summary of education and experience, usually given to an employer when applying for a job

salary: how much a person gets paid, weekly or yearly

career: a job or series of jobs

for-profit organization: a business that makes and/or sells good and services, focus is to make money (profit) for the owners/stockholders.

nonprofit organization: an organization whose income is not used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors, or any other persons with an interest in the company, focus is on helping a community and is concerned with money only as much as necessary to support the organization.

Ask the students what areas of their resumes they feel most proud of. Are there particular accomplishments they feel good about? Are there areas where they would like to add to their resumes? Have students form pairs to discuss things they would like to do that would improve their resumes. They can either swap resumes to make suggestions, or brainstorm as a team. Have the group come back together with suggestions for the class.



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Provide students with several newspaper classified ads to look over. Give them an opportunity to ask questions about the format and kind of information provided in the classifieds. The search can be expanded to include internet classifieds (See Bibliographical References for some job search sites). Ask students to brainstorm criteria that would be important to them in deciding on a job or career (money, location, interest, uses talents, education needed, job satisfaction - will it makeme happy?).Give the students time to look over the classified ads to identify a field that interests them, or a particular job they think they might like to have.

  2. List the jobs and organizations on a display area. Tell the students that some jobs may be in the for-profit sector and some may be in the nonprofit sector. Define the sectors for the students and share some examples of each at the national and global level (See Bibliographical References) and also some from the local community (local businesses and also local charitable organizations with which they might be familiar, such as the YMCA, animal shelters and food kitchen).

  3. Explain to the students that some people think people working at nonprofits are not paid. Tell them that nonprofits do use volunteers, who are not paid, but most employ paid staff. Some organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit, also offer internships (opportunities for people to acquire experience in a position or organization) that may or may not be a paid position. Mark each job/organization on the student list with an "F" for for-profit and an "N" for nonprofit. Discuss this question with students: What reasons might a person have to seek a job in a nonprofit charitable organization rather than in a for-profit business? Do you think there might be a difference in job satisfaction? If so why?

  4. Look again at the list of jobs that interest the students and ask a few students to volunteer to share what appeals to them about that job, and what qualifications they might need to obtain it. Have the students think about their skills and characteristics. Do they have any of the qualities that might help them obtain the job of their choice? What kinds of activities and experiences illustrate those qualities?

  5. Define resume, and inform the students that they will create a resume to help them gain employment in their chosen field. Provide a few sample resumes to look over. The samples should be simple, one-page resumes created by people of similar age and experience.

  6. Ask the student to use Handout One: Resume Template to make notes about what they want to include on their resumes. Areas to focus on as a group include:

    • Strengths: List key skills and traits that show you will be a good employee. (Ex: Work well as part of a team. Excellent interpersonal skills. Good computer skills. etc.)
    • Life Experience: List participation in any groups, clubs, volunteer projects, or other activities that might show your positive traits. (Be sure students emphasize activities and skills learned in school and other organized youth programs on their resumes.)
  7. Have the students use computer word processing software to write their resume using the resume template as a guide. They may leave off the work experience section if they do not have formal work experience. Experiences such as babysitting or odd jobs can be included in extracurricular activities.

  8. Print resumes for review. Help students edit their resumes as necessary, so they can leave the class with a completed, edited resume. Suggest that they provide a copy of this resume along with any application they submit for employment.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Recognize and use a variety of terms related to the civil society sector appropriately, and identify the characteristics the terms describe.
    2. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Compare and contrast the basic terms and operations of the for-profit, government, family, and civil society sectors.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.10 Identify the training or education needed for civil society sector jobs.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 02. Careers In The Nonprofit Sector
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify and explain how career options in the civil-society sector benefit communities.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Explore requirements and motivations for a career in the civil society sector.